to the merchants at Leghorn and their concerns, Sir R. thinks you are mistaken, and that if the Spaniards come thither, they will by no means be safe. I own I write to you under a great dilemma; I natter myself, all is well with you; but if not, how disagreeable to have one's letters fall into strange hands.—I write, however.
A brother of mine', Edward by name, has lately had a call to matrimony: the virgin's name was Howe2. He had agreed to take her with no fortune, she him with his four children3. The father of him, to get rid of his importunities, at last acquiesced. The very moment he had obtained this consent, he repented; and, instead of flying on the wings of love to notify it, he went to his fair one, owned his father had mollified, but hoped she would be so good as to excuse him4. . . .
You cannot imagine what an entertaining fourth act of the opera we had the other night. Lord Vane5, in the middle of the pit, making love to my lady. The Duke of Newcastle6 has lately given him threescore thousand pounds,
LETTER 51.—1 Second son of Sir Robert Walpole. He -was Clerk of the Pells, and afterwards Knight of the Bath. Walpole.
2 Eldest sister of the Lord Viscount Howe. She was soon after this married to a relation of her own name. Walpole.
3 Natural children hy Mary (or Dorothy) Clements, a milliner:— Edward (d. 1771), served in the army; Laura (d. 1813), m. (1768) Hon. and Bev. Frederick Keppel (afterwards Bishop of Exeter), fourth son of second Earl of ATbemarle; Maria (d. 1807), m. 1. (1759) James Waldegrave, second Earl- Walde-grave; 2. (1766) William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, brother of George HI; Charlotte (d. 1789), m. (1760) Lionel Tollemache, Lord Hnntingtower (afterwards fifth Earl of Dysart).
4 Passage obliterated in MS.
5 WDliam Vane, second Viscount
Vane; d. 1789. His wife, Frances Hawes (d. 1788), was the daughter of a South Sea Director. She first married Lord William Hamilton. Her adventures (under the title of Memoirs of a Lady of Quality'} were interpolated in Smollett's novel Peregrine Pickle.
6 Uncle of Lord Vane, whose father, Lord Barnard, had married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Gilbert Holies, Earl of Clare, and sister and co-heir of John, Duke of Newcastle. Walpole. — Thomas Pelham-Holles (1693-1768), Duke of Newcastle; Lord Chamberlain, 1717-24; K.G., 1718; Secretary of State for the Southern Province, 1724-54; High Steward of Cambridge University, 1737-48; Chancellor of Cambridge University, 1748; First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister), 1754-66, 1757-62.